Honouring Giuseppe Ferlaino: A legacy of hope and research

Giovanna Ferlaino’s father, the late Giuseppe Ferlaino, was an exceptional man – an outstanding father, husband and role model. His life was marked by unconditional love, a commitment to family and values of honesty, respect, compassion, generosity, hard work and education. Despite his humble beginnings and challenges, Giuseppe lived a fulfilling life, never envious of those who had more.

In mid-2007, Giuseppe began experiencing sleep disturbances and anxiety; these turned out to be the early signs of Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosed in 2010, the news was a shock to his family. Over time, symptoms like slowness of movement, smaller handwriting and a mask-like expression became evident. By 2016, Giuseppe was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease dementia, marking a turning point for his family.

Giovanna recalls small, poignant moments that capture her father’s essence, such as offering apple slices to family members before taking one for himself and asking that coffee be made for the ambulance officers just a day before his passing. These stories illustrate Giuseppe’s unwavering generosity and thoughtfulness.

Giovanna expresses deep gratitude, on behalf of her family, to Dr Nicholas Cordato, a geriatrician who provided exceptional care for Giuseppe. His compassion and expertise were instrumental in helping the family manage Giuseppe’s illness and keep him at home.

Expanding the legacy: The Giuseppe Ferlaino Research Grant

A new research grant targeting dementia and Parkinson’s disease research in honour of the late Giuseppe Ferlaino was announced at St George & Sutherland Medical Research Foundation’s (SSMRF) end-of-year celebration in November 2023.

Giuseppe’s family established this research grant in geriatric medicine to honour his sacrifice, work ethic and exceptional qualities as a human being. The Giuseppe Ferlaino Research Grant specifically targets neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It is fitting that Giuseppe’s name will live on through the values he firmly believed in – education, sacrifice and hard work.

His family hopes potential recipients of this grant will emulate the exceptional standards and level of care displayed by Dr Cordato in their own careers in this field and also remember Giuseppe Ferlaino’s values in providing recipients with this opportunity to advance our understanding of these disorders.

When announcing the new grant, his daughter Luigina shared that “It is impossible to convey in words the exceptional qualities of our dear Papa, although the fact that we are determined to have his name and values live on via these research grants is testimony to what a unique individual he was.

We recently read a poem on grief and one of the lines was: ‘Build a castle from the wreckage of my passing.’ Dear Papa, this research grant and the others that will follow in years to come, is the first step in laying the foundations for the building of our castle.

We are ordinary people who were blessed with an extraordinary Papa, and we want his name, sacrifice and values to live on in something meaningful. I know our beloved Papa would be very proud of this initiative as he firmly believed in the value of hard work, education and sacrifice.”

“We don’t take for granted that it is because we stand on the shoulders of a giant that we can launch this very significant and meaningful initiative”.

Giovanna Ferlaino

A call to action

Giovanna’s story highlights the critical importance of medical research in understanding and managing dementia. With your support, we can continue to make strides in dementia research and provide hope for those affected by this condition.

Watch our interview with Giuseppe Ferlaino’s daughter, Giovanna, to learn more about his journey. Together, we can make a significant impact.

Make a difference this EOFY. Donate to SSMRF and support groundbreaking dementia research. 

Unlocking hope video shoot team

Giovanna, left, with Jonathan Brown, who was diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia at 55; Dr Michelle Fitzmaurice, Postdoctoral Researcher at UNSW Microbiome Research Centre; and Pam Brown, CEO SSMRF, at out our SSMRF’s “Unlocking Hope for Dementia Research” video filming day.

You may also like

Unlocking hope: Thanking our supporters and contributors in advancing dementia research

Unlocking hope: Thanking our supporters and contributors in advancing dementia research

We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the incredible response to our EOFY campaign. Your generous donations and unwavering support will…
SSMRF Deputy Chair honoured on retirement

SSMRF Deputy Chair honoured on retirement

SSMRF Deputy Chair, Emeritus Professor Kate Moore, was recognised today for her 33 years of dedicated and passionate service to…
Jonathan Brown's journey with early onset dementia: Embracing change and finding hope

Jonathan Brown's journey with early onset dementia: Embracing change and finding hope

Jonathan Brown was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 55. His story is one of gradual realisation,…